How Joe Lombardi hit his stride against Bears

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Sampled from NFL Game Rewind

So Close

No, I didn’t use the picture above just because of the perfectly timed graphic making it look like Fauria was being thrown into the leaves by those playful Bears players.  I used the above picture because it illustrates just how close the 2nd year tight end was from doing a turkey dance.  No, I picked this picture because this was the closest the ball got to crossing the plane and giving him a TD.  It really looks like it’s in, right?  Well…

Sampled from NFL Game Rewind

Oh my.  That’s just…  Wow.  You could barely fit a piece of paper between the ball and the goal line.  That’s not even fair, right?  Joseph Fauria refers to himself as a touchdown machine, but has yet to light up the end zone for the Lions this season, mostly due to injury.  This time, frankly, it’s not his fault.  Second effort and all, just so darn close.

What’s impressive here, aside from how close he was and the perfectly timed graphic by CBS, is how a well designed play got Fauria in position to score.  The Lions boasted one of the biggest red zone offenses in the NFL at the start of the season, but it’s the red zone where Joe Lombardi has met his biggest struggles.  With Joseph Fauria, Brandon Pettigrew, and Calvin Johnson all healthy again, plays like this can be ran successfully.

Take a look at where the defenders are here.  Joe Lombardi used Calvin to pull a safety over the top, as well as a corner.  This left Fauria, who lined up on the opposite side of the line and worked across the field, to use his frame and size to box out the other safety.  Fauria did so masterfully, and were he just a little bit stronger or a little bit faster, this was a TD.  This play wasn’t executed perfectly, but it WAS designed perfectly and executed pretty darn well.

If Joe Lombardi can continue to design plays like the ones I’ve been looking at, and if the Detroit Lions players can continue to execute the way they did against the Chicago Bears, this offense just might be as explosive as it has the potential to be.  Many will point to how the team fared against better competition vs. games like this, but looking solely at the playcalling and the execution, this is so very promising.  The defense has already shown it can be great, but we’re finally seeing signs that the offense can follow suit.

Now, I’m not saying they can consistently score 30 points a game.  But 20 points?  More than a little achievable.  And when your defense is only giving up 17 points a game, 20 points is HUGE.